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Watch: Late goal denies Malta women win over Belarus in VisitMalta Women’s Trophy

Malta's Brenda Borg (right) charges forward against Belarus. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Gianluca Lia

Tony Bezzina Stadium

MALTA                1

Sultana 58

BELARUS            1

Artishevskaya 90

MALTA

J. Xuereb; A. Said, V. Rapa (81 R. Bajada), S. Farrugia, R. Cuschieri, A. Sultana (88 J. Flask), M. Farrugia, S. Zammit, C. Zammit, B. Borg, H. Bugeja.

BELARUS

N. Vaskabovich; H. Sas (84 A. Maher), V. Belaya (66 D. Manukova), H. Kaziupa, Y. Sliasarchyk, K. Alhovik (66 I. Artisheyvskaya), N. Shuppo, M. Surautsava (66 A. Kavaliova), A. Sitnikava, V. Bohdan (76 V. Kapysha), H. Pilipenka.

Referee Martina Mollinaro (Italy FA).

Yellow cards Pilipenka, Borg.

When the clock hit the 90th-minute mark, it looked as though Alishia Sultana had produced another crucial moment for her national team who looked on course to defeat Belarus at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

However, their hopes were dashed in the second minute of stoppage time when substitute Iana Artishevskaya bundled home the equaliser to deny the Malta women’s national team a prestigious victory in the VisitMalta Women’s Trophy at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

Thus, the Maltese team, sitting 86th in the world, concluded its VisitMalta Women’s Trophy commitments with a win and a draw as well as three goals scored and just one conceded.

These are numbers that will bode well for Manuela Tesse’s selection as they will now shift focus to the UEFA Women’s Nations League where they will be involved in the competition’s second-tier.

The draw for the upcoming edition of this tournament will be held on March 5, with the qualifying campaign set to kick off in April.

Alishia Sultana scores Malta’s goal against Belarus.

For this second and final match of this tournament, Tesse did not make any changes to its starting formation.

In fact, the Italian tactician sticked to the eleven players that started the 2-0 victory over the Faroe Islands including scorers Alishia Sultana and Haley Bugeja.

Mġarr United player Brenda Borg was included in a midfield trio as she made her 70th appearance for the national team whereas Lewes FC player Maria Farrugia was playing her 40th game.

Inter forward Bugeja almost grabbed her 20th goal for Malta when she directed a Sultana cross towards goal but Natallia Vaskabovich produced a brilliant save before denying Rachel Cuschieri on her rebound attempt as well.

Belarus swiftly replied through Nastassia Shuppo whose curling effort was blocked by Janice Xuereb, with Hanna Pilipenka sending her close-range effort wide.

Despite playing against a strong wind in the first half, Malta were keen on imposing their playing style and were still looking dangerous whenever they broke into the final third of Belarus.

Bugeja tried to test the Belarus goalkeeper with a long-range effort but failed to beat her as the score remained goalless.

At the restart, Belarus were looking to pile the pressure on Malta and tried to threaten through a few set-pieces.

Malta, on their part, were looking to catch their opponents on the break and they successfully managed to do so just before the hour mark when Sultana was at the end of a well-engineered transition as her cross-shot lobbed over Vaskabobich for her second Malta goal.

Belarus struggled to stage up a reaction and grab a leveller against a resilient Maltese side that was very organised tactically.

In the closing stages, Farrugia tried her luck with a curling shot but it was not enough to beat Vaskabovich.

When it looked as though, Malta had done enought to hang on for the win, Belarus struck.

The equaliser came against the run of play through substitute Iana Artishevskaya who beat Xuereb from inside the penalty area.

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